Monday, 23 August 2010


I love Thomas Fluharty's working drawing of Hugh Hefner:

The purpose of this drawing was to capture the information Fluharty needed for an oil portrait. This could never be achieved merely by tracing liver spots. Look at the vigor and character of his line:

Robert Fawcett once wrote, "A design started tentatively rarely gains in vigor later on. In anticipation of the dilution... the first rough draft [is often] put down with an almost savage intensity...." The personality that Fluharty squeezed into this drawing will survive conversion to painted shapes followed by several phases of refinement and blending.

Despite the obvious energy and speed of his drawing, he has not sacrificed acuity. Note how sharply he records the eyes, never resting with an easy symmetry:

Best of all, as he digests information Fluharty infuses it with strong opinions. Here Fluharty takes liberties with Hefner's ear, treating it like the gnarly horn of a grizzled old satyr:

One of the things I love most about good drawing is the way opinions and judgments emerge in the evaluation process.

Fluharty teaches a superb course on oil painting in the tradition of the Dutch and Flemish masters.

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